Twelve-year-old Prosper and five-year-old Bo are orphan brothers on the run. After their mother died, Aunt Esther came forward to adopt Bo. Only Bo. Rather than be separated, the brothers run away to start new lives in Venice, the city that their mother told stories about. Unfortunately, Venice doesn't have much to offer two boys who are obviously too young to tour the sinking city alone.
The brothers are quickly taken in by other runaways and street children who live in an abandoned movie theater. This group of vagabonds is led by Scipio, a young man who styles himself as the Thief Lord. Scipio and his followers make their living by stealing from rich Venetian homes and pawing the items at a particular shop that doesn't ask many questions.
Prosper and Bo, still pursued by Aunt Esther and her hired private eye, are growing to love their new family when the owner of the pawn shop asks the Thief Lord to steal a very particular item. An item that will change all the street children’s lives forever.
The Thief Lord is the first book I ever read by Cornelia Funke, and I was immediately swept away! What starts as a tragic story of loss quickly becomes an exciting tale of adventure and--surprisingly--magic. As is often Ms. Funke’s style magic and real-life are deeply entwined, but in this particular title it’s not until nearly the end that we discover the true magic of Venice.